Young, Black Americans are experiencing significant spikes in obesity, type 2 diabetes and smoking, all risk factors for bad heart health, heart attack and stroke.

Between 2007 and 2017 (before the COVID-19 pandemic and the concerns it has created) hospitalized Black Americans aged 18 to 44 had sharp increases in these risks. They were also having higher rates of health complications and poor hospital outcomes, researchers found in a new study.


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Tracker“One of the things that we have learned with COVID-19, it has really uncovered many of the disparities that exist in underrepresented minorities, as well as socioeconomically disadvantaged populations,” Douglass notes.

A health equity expert said he was not surprised, noting that systemic societal issues also have led to health inequities for minority populations.

Social determinants of health such as conditions and environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship and age affect their health risks, Dr. Paul Douglass, an interventional cardiologist in Atlanta shares.

Chief among those determinants are poor access to health care, healthy foods and safe environments for exercise, as well as individual income, Douglass adds.

“We found surprising results,” study co-author Dr. Ankit Vyas, an internal medicine resident at Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas, in Beaumont, Texas says.

In addition to the data on smoking and obesity, “we found that diabetes, hypertension [high blood pressure], high